FAIRFIELD, Conn. (AP) _ A man found dead in a marsh off Long Island Sound has been identified as Nikolay Papp, an artist from Fairfield who painted a landscape of sunflowers that President Bill Clinton presented to the president of the Ukraine as a gift in 1994.

Police on Sunday identified the body, which was found Saturday morning in the Ash Creek marsh in Fairfield. Authorities said Papp appeared to have drowned. They didn’t suspect foul play, but they were awaiting the results of an autopsy.

Papp, 59, was from Ukraine and immigrated to the United States in 1990, according to a biography posted online on the Freelanced social network.

In 1994, Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton presented Papp’s oil painting “Sunflowers in the Breadth of the Morning” to Ukraine President Leonid Kuchma and his wife, according to a document posted online by the William J. Clinton Presidential Library. The Kuchmas were visiting Washington at the time.

Papp’s work also is in the private collection of actress Kathleen Turner and has been exhibited in Connecticut, New York and other countries including Russia and Japan, according to the online biography.

His wife, Irina Simeonova, wrote on her Facebook page that his death was “very surreal.” She could not be reached for comment Monday. There was no phone listing for her.

“He loved drawing the ocean and he was (taken) away from us by the ocean,” she wrote.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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